Beat blogger; Spring Thing 2009

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I hate to go so long without posting, but I'm worn out. Yesterday was a great day of family fun, but between carrying a three-year-old up a snowy hill a dozen times, shoveling the driveway to get the van up the hill and into the garage, making snowmen last night, repairing snowmen this morning (undoing the damage caused by unknown vandals), shoveling the driveway to get the sedan down the the hill -- I'm exhausted and achy and still have a column to finish and two big assignments at work. So you're not getting anything new from me tonight.

I would like to call your attention to the most recent issue of Urban Tulsa Weekly. In addition to my column (about the need for legislation in Oklahoma to deter SLAPP lawsuits), you'll find the second installment of Natasha Ball's wonderful new weekly column on money-saving ideas. (You may know her as Tasha Does Tulsa. Here's a link to Natasha Ball's complete UTW archive.)

The cover this week -- done in the style of an old-west "wanted" poster, with a sepia-tone photo of 3rd Street between Kenosha and Lansing that looks a hundred years old -- is one of my favorites to date. The cover story by Mike Easterling will bring you up-to-date on the East Village or East End -- the downtown area east of Elgin and north of Home Depot. Despite many city-driven plans for the area -- including the 1997 Tulsa Project plan that would have wiped it all out for a soccer stadium -- progress so far has been the result of individual dreams and private funding:

And yet, as [Micha] Alexander noted earlier, the neighborhood he built mostly from scratch, and without any public assistance, has gone all but unrecognized. The irony of that isn't lost on him, but he doesn't dwell on that lack of attention.

"Everything we're planning on doing here, we're planning on doing with private funds," he said, noting that willingness to risk his own money without outside help isn't something a lot of developers share.

"A lot of people put their hands out, expecting something to be done for them," he said.

Alexander did apply for Vision 2025 funding several years ago, but his bid was rejected. "They said it was not in the right location, it was too modern and people wouldn't buy it," he said. Alexander now believes that's just as well, since the organic nature of his neighborhood's rebirth has allowed him to proceed according to his own vision, without any interference.

"If I was to go ask for this or ask for that, there are certain parameters I'd have to follow," he said. "The way we're doing it, our limit is nothing more than what we decide to do. I like that."

Last but far from least: You'll want to pick up this week's UTW to get a copy of the 2009 Spring Thing, an 80-page, full-color "essential guide to spring and summer" in Tulsa. I've got two new pieces in the book: A look at the city's political landscape and a guide to six great neighborhoods on Route 66: Red Fork, Riverview, Tracy Park, Kendall-Whittier, White City, and Tower Heights. (I could have easily written about a half-dozen more, but I had a word limit.) If you're e-inclined, you can download a PDF of Spring Thing 2009 here.

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Yogi Author Profile Page said:

I do a lot of walking downtime at lunch time and what is happening in the East Village is downtown's biggest secret. I didn't know who was doing the work so thanks for providing background and perspective.

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This page contains a single entry by Michael Bates published on March 29, 2009 10:11 PM.

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